Poetry & Novels

The Guernsey peasant and patois, 1846

The swarthy locals and their barbarous dialect, an excerpt from the Dublin University Magazine, 1846. This is no doubt based on Inglis' 1834 description of the Guernsey peasant: 'I cannot greatly compliment the personal appearance of the Guernsey country people. There are dark and sparkling eyes among the women .... The men are, with few exceptions, badly limbed; and among the women too, the bust is better than the ankles.'

Cherries, by Metivier

The poet George Métivier's family home, St George in the Câtel (the painting of the house is by Young, 1821), was planted with cherry trees, about which he fondly reminisced, along with the birds that feasted on them. Here are some excerpts from the Guernsey Magazine of November 1884 about cherries, taken from a series called 'Guernsey Popular Names of Plants, as compared with those in other places,' No. 8, 'Based on Mr Métivier's Glossaire.'

Lamentations de Damaris: a poem about old Fountain Street

The remodelling of Fountain Street was undertaken by the States at their own expense. They formed a Committee to oversee the works, which took place over several years in the 1820s. George Métivier wrote a poem in Guernsey French about the demolition of the street, which was so narrow in places that residents were said to be able to shake hands from the third storeys of their houses, from the point of view of one of its oldest denizens.

Victor Hugo and Guernsey: M Victor Hugo and George Metivier

6th June 2017
In an interesting article in this week’s Academy, says the Pall Mall Gazette of the 21st inst. (1876), M Jules Andrieu discloses certain curious discoveries made by him as to Victor Hugo’s method of procedure in composing his last romance. From this it would appear that even a great genius, and one also who has of late affected encyclopaedic learning, may be reduced to the necessity of ‘cramming’ for the purposes of a particular work;  and that, like others who cram, he is not over-fastidious either as to the field of his investigations or to the accuracy of their results. 

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